Novartis has gained exclusive worldwide rights to market PTK 0796, a first in its class broad-spectrum antibiotic under development by US firm Paratek Pharmaceuticals.

The new drug is potentially the first once-daily broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat a wide variety of life-threatening infections, including highly resistant bacteria, which usually require combination treatments.

Under the agreement Novartis will share responsibility for developing PTK 0796 with Paratek.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division CEO Joe Jimenez said that as the first in a new class of antibiotics, PTK 0796 is being developed to address the growing problem of bacterial resistance to currently available antibiotics.

“It will potentially benefit patients by offering a flexible and highly effective approach to the treatment of a number of critical infections,” Jimenez said.

Clinical studies involving more than 500 patients showed a favourable safety and tolerability profile for PTK 0796.